Economy

Mark Zuckerberg tangles with Congress on control of Facebook data

Mark Zuckerberg tangles with Congress on control of Facebook data”

Zuckerberg assured members of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee that users have ultimate control of their Facebook information, but undermined that by saying he was among the 87 million users whose data was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

And a question from Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, betrayed a misconception about what Facebook does with user data.

Bucshon asked if Facebook is listening to conversations, or if it has contracts with companies that provide data that is acquired verbally.

"If those buttons are on the page, regardless of whether you touch them or not, Facebook is collecting data", Oppenheim says. As he said in closing, "I think that may be what this is all about".

Later in his testimony, Zuckerberg said people had suggested a paid version of Facebook and "we consider ideas like that". "It's collected for growth reasons as well", he said, to make sure people have the right friend suggestions when they sign into the service for the first time. By default, Facebook shows you ads based on interests you've expressed over the years and the companies you have "interacted" with - for instance, by sharing your email or phone number, visiting their website or using their app.

"You did not know how many firms have been sold data by Dr. Kogan, other than Cambridge Analytica". "And then, about a month ago, we heard a new report that suggested that this was not true", he said. "We may also collect information to make it so that those ads are more relevant and work better on those websites", he said, adding that users can opt out of ad targeting.

Responding to a question, he told lawmakers that he intends to initiate legal action Cambridge Analytica.

Daniel Gillmor, a senior staff technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union who is also a non-Facebook user said that there are two ways that the platform collects information about non-users like him: From other Facebook users associated to him, and from sites on the open web.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect on May 25, also will require companies to tell users what information they are using and why they're using it, how long they will store it and who else will be able to see it. Although the hearing was sparked by the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the questions ranged far and wide as lawmakers sought to get their jabs in-all while struggling to understand Facebook and its business model. "As for past activity, I don't have all the examples of apps that we've banned here, but if you would like, I can have my team follow up with you after this". Yet several Republican lawmakers complained to Zuckerberg about what they called a bias on Facebook. Every time that a person chooses to share something on Facebook, they're proactively going to the service and choosing that they want to share a photo, write a message to someone.

Little of this came out, because the politicians questioning Zuckerberg by and large had no real understanding of how Facebook works. "I do imagine that we will find some apps that were either doing something suspicious or misusing people's data", he said.

"There are certainly other things that we do, too. We record this info to help us improve our products".



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